Blogs

Ed Brooke: Saluting a housing champion (Repost)

In light of former U.S. Senator Edward Brooke's passing, we're reposting this article honoring the pioneering housing champion authored by the "Queen of Civic Engagement" Nancy Amidei. This was originally published on October 28, 2013.


Guest Blogger: Nancy Amidei, Civic Engagement Project

Watching events unfold in D.C. in recent weeks with so much partisan rancor, conjured up memories of working in D.C. My boss, U.S. Senator George McGovern (D-SD), regularly worked across the aisle with Republican Senators - Bob Dole, Chuck Percy, Jacob Javits, and others. And he was not alone; there was a different approach to governing

Then, I noticed that October 26 was the birthday of former U.S. Senator Edward Brooke. When Brooke won his seat in 1966, he was the first African American popularly elected to the U.S. Senate. A Republican from Massachusetts, he was a veteran, and a former State’s Attorney General. 

Born in 1919 (and still living), his name should be known to just about anybody who cares about fair and affordable housing because of “the Brooke Amendment”, the cap on the rents low-income people are expected to pay for housing. The original standard, no more than 25% of income, has already been eroded. It's now 30%. And as should be obvious, if 30% of your income is tied up just to stay housed, you don’t have much left for the rest of life’s necessities. But at least – thanks to Ed Brooke  there is a limit on what people can be charged to live in subsidized housing.

Brooke, a Republican, together with Minnesota Senator Walter Mondale, a Democrat, co-authored the Fair Housing Act, which included the 25% standard. His involvement and the bill’s success were even more remarkable than might be obvious now. 

He and Mondale were both “freshman” senators, in the second year of their first terms. In other words, they had no seniority, a factor much valued in the Senate.

Plus, they were fighting for fair housing for people who were not just poor, but – as everyone in the Senate knew – also people of color. (As a returning veteran, Brooke himself had experienced discrimination from landlords unwilling to rent to him and his family.)

At the time, the Civil Rights Act was still new. In much of the country, neighborhoods, schools, businesses, the military, and even churches were strictly segregated by race. And notions like “equal employment” or “fair housing” were instantly, viciously, fought.


Edward Brooke received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2004.
Every time Brooke and Mondale tried to get a vote on their Fair Housing Bill, entrenched Senate bigots with much more seniority filibustered it. There must have been enormous pressure on Brooke to just take his bill and get lost. Happily for all of the millions whose lives have been affected by the Fair Housing Act, he didn’t. And, after the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in April of 1968, the bill was quickly brought up for a vote, passed by the Senate and House, and signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson.

Brooke served two terms in the Senate until 1978, working for many issues of race and economic fairness. Then, post-Senate, he chaired the Board of the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

So, a happy birthday toast to a hero of the affordable housing movement Ed Brooke! Perhaps the most appropriate way we can commemorate is to pledge to follow the Housing Alliance during the coming legislative sessions. They’ll provide easy ways for you to advocate to your elected official to protect fair and affordable housing laws and policies at both the federal and state levels. They’ll also keep you informed of the latest developments in this and the other Washington about affordable housing and homelessness. You can join their advocates email list herelike them on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter. Ed Brooke was one politician who made a difference. But he couldn’t have made it happen without people like you behind him!

Editor's note: In the 80s, Senator Brooke also served as chair of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. They also have this great tribute to Senator Brooke at their blog here.

 


 

The Top 10 Housing Alliance Moments of 2014

As 2014 draws to a close, we reflect back on the top ten Housing Alliance moments of this year. We'll present (finally) the entire list to you here, including NUMBER ONE! Let us know about your personal housing & homelessness advocacy highlights from 2014. Share yours at our Facebook and Twitter pages. And may you have a very Happy New Year!

 

 

 

#10 - Our Issues Trended on the Social Media Day of Action.

We kicked off 2014 strong with a Social Media Day of Action on January 15. From 12:00am to 11:59pm, our supporters and friends made #HHAD2014 a trending hashtag on Twitter and Facebook. The day of action helped us more than DOUBLE our reach and bring attention to our 2014 affordable housing and homelessness legislative priorities.

 

 

#9 - SEA...HAWKS!!!

Housing Alliance staff had a front row seat for the Super Bowl Champions Parade that took place in downtown Seattle on February 5. Although, it took awhile for our beloved Seahawks to pass our offices on 4th & Union. Once they did, we greeted them with loud cheers, blue & green confetti, and of course, Skittles! You can see our complete set of photos from the celebration here.

 

 

#8 - 2014 Housing & Homelessness Advocacy Day Breaks Records.

Every year, Housing & Homelessness Advocacy Day sets the tone for the upcoming legislative session and is one of our state’s largest advocacy gatherings. At Advocacy Day 2014 on January 28, our first-ever photo booth sponsored by Seattle-based advocacy organization Firesteel was a hit. In another first, at least 1 out of every 5 Advocacy Day attendees was a nonprofit board member. Registration for Housing & Homelessness Advocacy Day 2015 is now open! You can register here.


Photo courtesy of Firesteel.

 

 

#7 - Gong Ceremony at the Capitol to Commemorate Statewide Homelessness.

On Thursday March 6, advocates from all over Washington sounded a gong exactly 5,043 times to recognize the 5,043 individuals found sleeping outside at night across the state during the January 2013 point-in-time count of homeless individuals across the state. The gong ringing took place in front of the capitol dome, and 19 legislators participated. We also held a press conference to draw attention to our efforts to save the Document Recording Fee/Homeless Housing & Assistance Surcharge Bill.

Pictured right: Rep. Jessyn Farrell (46th LD - Lake Forest Park)

 

 

#6 - Senator Patty Murray Wows the Audience at our Annual Awards Event.

We were so pleased to have Senator Patty Murray join us at Bringing Washington Home, our 5th Annual Advocacy Awards ceremony. However, we weren’t expecting her to touch on so many of our Emerging Advocates Program graduates’ stories. In her own words, “They serve as an important reminder that the programs for which you advocate represent a lifeline for members of our communities—our neighbors or friends in need.” Emerging Advocates Program (EAP) graduates Rebecca Snow Landa, Glenda Miller, and Susan Russell were in the audience to hear Sen. Murray reflect on their experiences. They also were there to cheer on their fellow EAP grads and evening awardees Shelby Powell, and Ellie Lambert. It was a great night celebrating the power of advocacy and our community.

Pictured below (l-r): Susan Russell, Virginia Shelby Powell (2014 Grassroots Leader of the Year), Ellie Lambert (2014 Individual Advocate of the Year), Glenda Miller, Thomas Green, and Rebecca Snow Landa.

 

 

#5 - Medicaid Supportive Housing Benefit White Paper Release.

Summer in Seattle can be...slow. But policy staff were hard at work on a research paper exploring the concept of creating a new Medicaid benefit to both help end chronic homelessness and bring permanent supportive housing (PSH) to scale. PSH pairs affordable housing with intensive tenancy support services, housing case management, and care coordination. It’s designed to serve people who are experiencing or are at risk of chronic homelessness and who have a severe and persistent mental health disorder, a chemical dependency disability, or chronic and complex physical health conditions. Although permanent supportive housing exists across Washington, there is not enough funding currently available to bring this model fully to scale.

 

 

#4 - 2014 Conference on Ending Homelessness Sets Records.

The 2014 Annual Conference on Ending Homelessness (COEH) in Yakima on May 21-22 was record-setting in many ways. We had the highest number of attendees for Yakima ever: 617 housing and homelessness service providers and private sector employees from all over Washington attended the two days of workshops. Attendees could pick from 50 workshops, our highest number yet. And 22 of them offered Continuing Education Unit credits, also a record.

Our 2014 COEH keynote speakers were especially entertaining. Nonprofit blogger Vu Le first made attendees laugh when entering the stage to the epic theme music from the cable television program “Game of Thrones.” But his reflections as a young child raised in a family that recently immigrated to the US were both humorous and thought-provoking. And Rex Holbien’s presentation of the striking images and stories he’s documented for his Facing Homelessness project led to a standing ovation and not a dry eye in the house.

 

 

#3 - Emerging Advocates Program Reunites!

Our Emerging Advocates Program (EAP) trains individuals who have experienced homelessness or housing instability in a range of skills for effective advocacy. EAP participants from all three 2014 programs joined with last year's attendees for an October celebration with Housing Alliance staff. In addition to a display of art created by EAP graduates, we had a visual timeline that charted organizational and personal milestones since the program began in 2013. There was also an open mic for anyone who wanted to share their personal experiences during or since the EAP program.

 

 

 

#2 - Prioritizing Anti-oppression and Equity: Class Matters!

Towards the end of 2014, Housing Alliance staff and a board member underwent "Exploring Class and Class Cultures," an all-day training using materials from the organization Class Action. With support from facilitators, staff reflected on their class background growing up and how it both motivates and strengthens their day-to-day work at the Housing Alliance. We also explored messaging styles and communication norms unique to specific classes and across class. We all developed tools to challenge micro-aggressions that we may we encounter within the organization and in the broader community. The Housing Alliance staff emerged knowing much more about each other’s past and the unique perspectives and strengths we all bring to our work.

 

 

 

#1 (tied) - Document Recording Fee/Homeless Housing & Assistance Surcharge Bill KILLED in Committee.

On the evening of February 27, the thud of a gavel made shockwaves throughout the homeless community and beyond. With this single action, a committee chair had effectively killed our bipartisan-supported Document Recording Fee Bill that would have kept in place a modest $40 document recording fee to fund effective homeless services across the state. An audio recording of Senators Don Benton, Steve Hobbs, and Sharon Nelson objecting to the abrupt end of the committee meeting was released, and we went into nonstop emergency mode to spread the news far and wide.

#1 (tied) - Document Recording Fee/Homeless Housing & Assistance Surcharge Bill SAVED in the Last Hours of Session!

Yup, we just couldn't help ourselves. We have two highlights tied for number one, one a really terrible moment for housing and homelessness, and the other a really awesome triumph! In two weeks, we saw over 70 total media hits from publications all over Washington about the “legislative malpractice” that killed the Document Recording Fee Bill. The media clamor combined with our coordinated efforts to maintain and amplify the advocacy for this bill resulted in a final hours legislative win. In the last moments of the 2014 Legislative Session, both houses passed an alternate version of the bill that preserved the housing and homeless surcharge until 2019. This meant successful services across Washington could continue to transition people off the streets into shelter and stability.

Pictured below: Some of our favorite memes from this past legislative session.

  

What are your housing & homelessness advocacy highlights from 2014? Let us know at our Facebook and Twitter pages.

 


 

 

Top 10 Housing Alliance Moments of 2014 (#2)

As we get ever closer to the 2015 State Legislative Session, we're presenting the top ten Housing Alliance moments of this year in segments. We did mention that we'd be presenting the final segment of the list today. But we all here thought that number two should stand alone because it was an awesome moment for all of us here at the office. So, without further ado...
 

 

#2 - Prioritizing Anti-oppression and Equity: Class Matters!

Towards the end of 2014, Housing Alliance staff and a board member underwent "Exploring Class and Class Cultures," an all-day training using materials from the organization Class Action. With support from facilitators, staff reflected on their class background growing up and how it both motivates and strengthens their day-to-day work at the Housing Alliance. We also explored messaging styles and communication norms unique to specific classes and across class. We all developed tools to challenge micro-aggressions that we may we encounter within the organization and in the broader community. The Housing Alliance staff emerged knowing much more about each other’s past and the unique perspectives and strengths we all bring to our work.

Tune in next week as we reveal the top moment from this past year. Really. We will this time. We swear. We really have no choice.

Do you have your own housing & homelessness advocacy highlights from 2014? Share yours at our Facebook and Twitter pages.

 


 

Top 10 Housing Alliance Moments of 2014 (5-3)

As we get ever closer to the 2015 State Legislative Session, we look back on the top ten Housing Alliance moments of this year. We're presenting the list to you in segments. Here's Part 3, moments 5, 4, and 3.

 

 

 

#5 - Medicaid Supportive Housing Benefit White Paper Release.

Summer in Seattle can be...slow. But policy staff were hard at work on a research paper exploring the concept of creating a new Medicaid benefit to both help end chronic homelessness and bring permanent supportive housing (PSH) to scale. PSH pairs affordable housing with intensive tenancy support services, housing case management, and care coordination. It’s designed to serve people who are experiencing or are at risk of chronic homelessness and who have a severe and persistent mental health disorder, a chemical dependency disability, or chronic and complex physical health conditions. Although permanent supportive housing exists across Washington, there is not enough funding currently available to bring this model fully to scale.

 

 

#4 - 2014 Conference on Ending Homelessness Sets Records.

The 2014 Annual Conference on Ending Homelessness (COEH) in Yakima on May 21-22 was record-setting in many ways. We had the highest number of attendees for Yakima ever: 617 housing and homelessness service providers and private sector employees from all over Washington attended the two days of workshops. Attendees could pick from 50 workshops, our highest number yet. And 22 of them offered Continuing Education Unit credits, also a record.

Our 2014 COEH keynote speakers were especially entertaining. Nonprofit blogger Vu Le first made attendees laugh when entering the stage to the epic theme music from the cable television program “Game of Thrones.” But his reflections as a young child raised in a family that recently immigrated to the US were both humorous and thought-provoking. And Rex Holbien’s presentation of the striking images and stories he’s documented for his Facing Homelessness project led to a standing ovation and not a dry eye in the house.

 

 

#3 - Emerging Advocates Program Reunites!

Our Emerging Advocates Program (EAP) trains individuals who have experienced homelessness or housing instability in a range of skills for effective advocacy. EAP participants from all three 2014 programs joined with last year's attendees for an October celebration with Housing Alliance staff. In addition to a display of art created by EAP graduates, we had a visual timeline that charted organizational and personal milestones since the program began in 2013. There was also an open mic for anyone who wanted to share their personal experiences during or since the EAP program.

 

Tune in next Monday, December 22 as we reveal the top "two" moments from this past year.

Do you have your own housing & homelessness advocacy highlights from 2014? Share yours at our Facebook and Twitter pages.

 


 

2015 Budget 1.0 - Our Analysis

The Housing Alliance Policy & Advocacy Team

Governor Jay Inslee rolled out his budget and revenue proposals over the course of four days, saving affordable housing and homeless service funding until Thursday. And...<drum roll> affordable housing and homelessness programs fared well in the governor's budget proposal!

Thank you to everyone who contacted the governor in September asking him to not accept agency proposals to eliminate the Aged, Blind, and Disabled (ABD) program and SSI facilitation services and to cut the Housing and Essential Needs (HEN) program. We are very happy to share that all these programs have been held harmless in the governor's budget. And we are also very happy to share that a significant appropriation for affordable housing is in his capital budget (details below). Overall there is $100 million for affordable housing including $75 million for the Housing Trust Fund (with no buckets or project lists).

See below for more specific details on our budget priorities.

The reason the governor was able to protect affordable housing and homelessness programs: REVENUE. Some programs are directly tied to new revenue. And given the massive budget deficit, it is miraculous to see a budget proposal without deep cuts to affordable housing and the homelessness safety net.

Given this very positive budget news, we have three requests:

  1. Please take a moment to reflect on how effective advocacy has already been in this budget proposal.
  2. Then please continue the momentum by taking further advocacy action today for revenue. We now need lawmakers to know that the affordable housing and homelessness community supports revenue.
    Please sign our petition as an individual and, if you can, as an organization.
  3. Thank Governor Inslee. He took a bold stand on revenue and we need to make it clear to the legislature that we will support them when they follow his lead.
    You can leave him a message at 1.800.562.6000.
    You can email him here.
    You can tweet a thanks to him here.
    You can also thank him in a Facebook post.

Thank you for your advocacy, and stay tuned for more budget details in the coming weeks ahead.

 

The Governor's Budget At a Glance

You can read through the governor's full proposal here.

Homelessness Safety Net Services

  • ABD unharmed (no cuts & no additional appropriation) - financial assistance for people with permanent disabilities.
  • HEN unharmed (no cuts & no additional appropriation) - rent assistance for people with temporary disabilities.
  • Incapacity determination staff unharmed.
  • We haven’t yet confirmed if Medical Care Services for the aged population were cut.
  • $780,000 reduction in SSI facilitation staff, but not from the DSHS Economic Services Administration.
  • Governor's budget did not harm these programs that departments had proposed reducing/cutting:
    ABD preserved, SSI facilitation
    HEN
    TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families) Tribal Programs
    Naturalization services
    LEP (Limited English Proficiency) services

Other Safety Net Services

  • $1,700,000 cut to AREN (Additional Requirements for Emergent Needs) - a program that provides an emergency cash grant for families on TANF who experience an emergency or crisis requiring money*.
  • $15,768,000 cut to TANF - Participation Incentive - This program provides an incentive payment to TANF WorkFirst parents who are participating in approved WorkFirst (TANF's job search and preparation program) activities at least 20 hours per week and meeting the requirements of their individual plans.

Mental Health Services

  • Mental health budget overall 26% increase.
  • Breakfast After the Bell (a specialized breakfast program for schoolchildren) funded, although we are seeking more details.

Capital Budget Affordable Housing Appropriations

Washington State Housing Trust Fund

Homeless Youth and Families

This budget creates an Office of Youth Homelessness:

  • New general fund appropriation of $150,000 in 2016 and $150,000 in 2017 to create the office of youth homelessness:
    "The office will be responsible for identifying service gaps for youth and young adults who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. The office will further lead efforts to improve data collection, ensure services are available statewide, and assure that programs fulfill federal regulations and guidelines for preventing and ending youth homelessness."

This budget transfers Crisis Residential Centers, Hope Beds, and Street Youth Services from DSHS to the new Office of Youth Housing at the Washington State Department of Commerce:

  • $1,023,000 new appropriation.
  • $10,741,000 in funding transferred from DSHS.

Washington Youth and Families Fund

  • $3,000,000 for the Washington Youth and Family Fund overall:
    One-time funding of $2,000,000 from the Washington Housing Trust Account Operations and Maintenance Fund (O&M) and $1,000,000 from the State General Fund.

    “Appropriation for fiscal year 2016 is provided solely for the Washington youth and families fund to address issues affecting unaccompanied youth and young adults as well as families who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. The department of commerce shall work with the administrator of the Washington youth and families fund to assure a portion of the funding is used to build capacity among providers in identifying, engaging, and providing enhanced support for commercially sexually exploited children.”

Ending Family Homelessness

  • $4,000,000 in new appropriations.

    “The Ending Family Homelessness Initiative uses a rapid rehousing model to enable families to move into stable permanent housing through temporary rent assistance. Funding is provided to expand this program.”

Bolstering Economic Security

The budget proposal includes the Working Families Tax Rebate, which refunds 10% of people's Earned Income Tax Credit return. More than 435,000 families would receive a rebate of up to $624 per year. Offsets increase cost of energy from the governor's climate policy and helps make the state's tax system more equitable.

 

*To get AREN, you must:

  • Be eligible for temporary assistance for needy families (TANF), state family assistance (SFA), or refugee cash assistance (RCA);
  • Have an emergency housing or utility need;
  • Have a good reason that you do not have enough money to pay your housing or utility costs; and
  • Have not previously received the AREN maximum limit of seven hundred fifty dollars in a 12-month period. We will count all AREN payments received in a 12-month period by any adult in your TANF assistance unit, for any assistance unit, when we calculate your AREN limit.

Edit to add Working Families Tax Rebate and changed language: 12/19/2014, 1pm

 


 

Top 10 Housing Alliance Moments of 2014 (7-6)

As 2014 draws to a close, we reflect back on the top ten Housing Alliance moments of this year. We'll present the list to you in segments. Here is Part 2, moments 7 & 6.

 

 

 

 

#7 - Gong Ceremony at the Capitol to Commemorate Statewide Homelessness.

On Thursday March 6, advocates from all over Washington sounded a gong exactly 5,043 times to recognize the 5,043 individuals found sleeping outside at night across the state during the January 2013 point-in-time count of homeless individuals across the state. The gong ringing took place in front of the capitol dome, and 19 legislators participated. We also held a press conference to draw attention to our efforts to save the Document Recording Fee/Homeless Housing & Assistance Surcharge Bill.

Pictured right: Rep. Jessyn Farrell (46th LD - Lake Forest Park)

 

 

 

#6 - Senator Patty Murray Wows the Audience at our Annual Awards Event.

We were so pleased to have Senator Patty Murray join us at Bringing Washington Home, our 5th Annual Advocacy Awards ceremony. However, we weren’t expecting her to touch on so many of our Emerging Advocates Program graduates’ stories. In her own words, “They serve as an important reminder that the programs for which you advocate represent a lifeline for members of our communities—our neighbors or friends in need.” Emerging Advocates Program (EAP) graduates Rebecca Snow Landa, Glenda Miller, and Susan Russell were in the audience to hear Sen. Murray reflect on their experiences. They also were there to cheer on their fellow EAP grads and evening awardees Shelby Powell, and Ellie Lambert. It was a great night celebrating the power of advocacy and our community.

Pictured below (l-r): Susan Russell, Virginia Shelby Powell (2014 Grassroots Leader of the Year), Ellie Lambert (2014 Individual Advocate of the Year), Glenda Miller, Thomas Green, and Rebecca Snow Landa.

Stay tuned as we'll be rolling out the rest of the list here at our blog as 2014 winds down.

Do you have your own housing & homelessness advocacy highlights from 2014? Share yours at our Facebook and Twitter pages.

 


 

Top 10 Housing Alliance Moments of 2014 (10-8)

As 2014 draws to a close, we reflect back on the top ten Housing Alliance moments of this year. We'll present the list to you in segments. Here first are moments 10 through 8.

 

 

 

#10 - Our Issues Trended on the Social Media Day of Action.

We kicked off 2014 strong with a Social Media Day of Action on January 15. From 12:00am to 11:59pm, our supporters and friends made #HHAD2014 a trending hashtag on Twitter and Facebook. The day of action helped us more than DOUBLE our reach and bring attention to our 2014 affordable housing and homelessness legislative priorities.

 

 

#9 - SEA...HAWKS!!!

Housing Alliance staff had a front row seat for the Super Bowl Champions Parade that took place in downtown Seattle on February 5. Although, it took awhile for our beloved Seahawks to pass our offices on 4th & Union. Once they did, we greeted them with loud cheers, blue & green confetti, and of course, Skittles! You can see our complete set of photos from the celebration here.

 

 

#8 - 2014 Housing & Homelessness Advocacy Day Breaks Records.

Every year, Housing & Homelessness Advocacy Day sets the tone for the upcoming legislative session and is one of our state’s largest advocacy gatherings. At Advocacy Day 2014 on January 28, our first-ever photo booth sponsored by Seattle-based advocacy organization Firesteel was a hit. In another first, at least 1 out of every 5 Advocacy Day attendees was a nonprofit board member. Registration for Housing & Homelessness Advocacy Day 2015 is now open! You can register here.


Photo courtesy of Firesteel.

Stay tuned as we'll be rolling out the rest of the list here at our blog as 2014 winds down.

Do you have your own housing & homelessness advocacy highlights from 2014? Share yours at our Facebook and Twitter pages.

 


 

#GivingTuesday/#GratitudeTuesday

Rachael Myers, Executive Director

Today, people all over the world are participating in #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back.

In Housing Alliance land, we’re celebrating Gratitude Tuesday, since we recently released our 2013-14 Gratitude Report.

If you haven’t yet taken a look, please do. In it, we reflect on the progress we've made together over the last year to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to live in a safe, healthy, affordable home. 



And if you participate in Giving Tuesday today, please consider supporting the Housing Alliance. 



This year, we protected funding that will keep 32,000 people from becoming homeless. 



Next year, we'll continue the fight to end homelessness and ensure a home for everyone in Washington. We have ambitious goals that we can only achieve with support from you.


We'll continue to advocate so that children can live in a stable home and have the opportunity to succeed in school and in life. 

We'll continue to educate because hardworking people should not have to choose between paying rent and putting food on the table. 

And we'll continue to organize our statewide movement because it’s only fair that everyone has a safe place to live.

But we can only continue with your financial support. You can make your Giving Tuesday gift to the Housing Alliance quickly and easily here.

Thank you for being a part of our community.

"It Would Actually Be Very Simple to End Homelessness"

Ben Miksch, Affordable Housing Policy and Advocacy Specialist

Have you read Bryce Covert's ThinkProgress article "It Would Actually Be Very Simple to End Homelessness" yet?

The in-depth article features our executive director Rachael Myers and Emerging Advocates Program graduate Kirk McClain and focuses on what it would take to actually end homelessness.And I have a positive update to the article: Kirk has moved into an apartment, thanks in part to some support from the programs that we all advocate for every year. Unfortunately, as we all know, there are still far too many people who need support, but aren't able to get it.

One of the solutions highlighted in the article is the United For Homes campaign. This is the proposal to provide the affordable housing our country needs by modifying the mortgage interest deduction to fund the National Housing Trust Fund. You can read more about the specifics of this proposal here.
As Bryce states in the closing of the article, "The solutions are there. The public is moving in the right direction. What is lacking is political willingness to spend money."

If your organization supports the idea that legislators should stand up for our most vulnerable, consider joining the Housing Alliance and 60 Washington State organizations and endorse the United For Homes campaign.

You can see the full list of endorsers here: nlihc.org/unitedforhomes/endorsers.

 


 

A new face at the Housing Alliance...

Haley Jo Lewis, Communications Intern

My name is Haley Jo Lewis, and I am excited to be Washington Low Income Housing Alliance’s new Communications Intern! I am originally from sunny San Diego and moved to Seattle three years ago to attend Seattle University where I am currently in my senior year studying communications.

During my time at Seattle University, I have become aware of many issues in our community and have become engaged in social justice work in a variety of platforms. I have both volunteered with and worked for the Seattle University Youth Initiative as a member of the Redhawk Reading Corp. For this program, I volunteered as a reading tutor in elementary classrooms, where students from low-income families received extra support in learning to read. This work was extremely rewarding. Seeing the progress students made throughout the year because of our program made me realize how possible it is to create change in our communities. Building meaningful relationships with program participants is something I’ll always cherish.

When I saw an opportunity in the Communication Department for work at the Project on Family Homelessness, I couldn’t turn it down. I have always been interested in the issue of homelessness. I’m particularly interested in changing the negative public perceptions of individuals experiencing homelessness. I hope that, someday in the future, we can humanize the issue and build a grand-scale social movement to end homelessness.

My first experience working in coordination with the Housing Alliance was at Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day 2014. I met their “communications guy,” Joaquin, and others from the Housing Alliance and attended a workshop on using social media for advocacy led by Joaquin and members of the local advocacy organization Firesteel. It was my first experience at Advocacy Day, and I was pleased to find that both the workshops as well as the legislative meetings were easy to follow. Although I had very little prior knowledge of the legislative process, I found that by the end of the day I had a better understanding of how it all works, and I felt like I had really made an impact in being there. I am now so excited to attend Advocacy Day 2015. I knew right from the beginning that the Housing Alliance knew what they were doing!

As a Communications Intern, I am excited to assist in social media work, research, data analysis, digital design, and many other tasks for various Housing Alliance staff members. I hope my skills will help keep the Housing Alliance running smoothly and effectively. I also hope to be a bridge between them and the Seattle University Project on Family Homelessness on various projects, keeping these two awesome organizations in communication with one another, supporting one another’s work, and working together to end homelessness.

I am eager to gain experience in the communications sector of nonprofit and advocacy work and am honored to be given this opportunity! Hopefully I’ll see you at this coming Advocacy Day on Tuesday, February 17, 2015 in Olympia.

 

Photos: Top: Me at Advocacy Day 2014 (Photo courtesy of Catherine Hinrichsen). Bottom (left to right): Me, Graham Pruss, and Joaquin Uy at Advocacy Day 2014 (Photo courtesy of Catherine Hinrichsen).

 


 

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